Somewhere on the internet, someone is yelling “It’ll always be the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Shoe to me” into the void. For the rest of us, we’ll know it as the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show for the foreseeable future as news broke late Thursday night about the new sponsorship deal.
“Music and sports hold a special place in our hearts, so we’re very excited Apple Music will be part of music and football’s biggest stage,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, via Variety. “We’re looking forward to even more epic performances next year and beyond with the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show.”
Apple succeeds Pepsi as the halftime sponsor as the beverage giant announced in May that it was ending its 10-year run. That news was not unexpected as the NFL had taken the sponsorship rights to market last October with one expert saying it could net the league anywhere between $25 million to $50 million per year. Per the New York Times, the latter number is where the league was said to be aiming.
The terms of the deal between Apple and the NFL have yet to be disclosed.
Apple’s sponsorship deal is part of a larger push by the tech giant in recent years to get into the sports world, especially when it comes to the NFL. Apple TV+ has long been rumored as a potential landing spot for NFL Sunday Ticket. And while talks between the two sides have dragged (or are at least in a holding pattern), this kind of sponsorship at least ensures they’re in the game, literally.
According to the New York Times, the Super Bowl halftime sponsorship came out of the Sunday Ticket negotiations as “a way to deepen the business ties” between them and the NFL. They also report that Apple CEO Tim Cook and head of services Eddy Cue have been meeting with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, both of whom are leading the league’s negotiations.
Apple TV+ also already has deals with Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer and they showed a lot of interest in Big Ten media rights before that was settled. And while they’re already starting to see how those deals can make them part of the conversation, there’s nothing quite like the NFL.
As far as the halftime show itself, we don’t yet know who will be performing at Super Bowl LVII, when the sponsorship begins. We do know that Jay-Z and Roc Nation are expected to continue being the lead on artist selection, as they were with this past year’s show featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, and others. However, the NY Times says that Apple will have a say in the direction of the show, according to someone familiar with the deal.
Hopefully, not U2.